Good Steward: TransportationUncategorized Monday, December 3rd, 2012
Worth the effort
Whitesburg Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL
Decetria Akole was only four years old and living in the projects in southwest Huntsville, AL, when she started coming to Whitesburg Baptist Church. No, her parents did not take her to church; she and many other kids in the neighborhood learned about the love of God riding in one of Whitesburg Church’s buses and attending Sunday school.
“Many of these ‘bus kids’ now have meaningful church relationships and are leading their own children to be people of faith,” says executive pastor Terry Herald. In fact, Akole, now 26, and a recent college graduate, works as an administrative assistant at The Place, Whitesburg’s satellite campus and base for – you guess it – the church’s bus ministry. Prior to this role, Akole taught Sunday school for first-graders for two years.
For more than 30 years, Whitesburg has had a history of evangelism and ministry impact on the community through its bus ministry.
The church owns more than 15 vehicles that transport up to 250 children and adults from their homes to the church every week. Each year, says Herald, Whitesburg baptizes 40 to 50 people at The Place. “Of those, 20 to 40 ride our buses,” he adds.
Whitesburg’s used buses are maintained by a full-time bus mechanic who makes sure all the vehicles are in proper working order for the church’s various ministries. He also helps anyone in the church who wants to obtain a commercial driver’s license.
Sadly, the bus ministry is a dying program, at least based on Herald’s observations as a veteran of this special outreach for more than 35 years. He says many churches that used to be very active in bus ministry no longer do so.
[Source: Terry Herald, executive pastor]
Church on wheels
Fairhaven Church, Centerville, OH
Fairhaven Church owns a 2007 Ford/Glaval Titan 44-passenger bus and two 12-passenger vans. The vans are used to transport small groups and to shuttle staff and volunteers during worship services. The bus is used for numeorus trips each year, such as water rafting and ski trips for the youth ministries, trips to a local farm for apple cider and hayrides for the senior citizens, out-of-state trips for conferences and seminars, ministry retreats, and transporting low-income families to the zoo and area museums.
The bus ministry played a huge role during the Christmas season a few years ago when more than 400 homeless men and women from the Dayton inner city area were brought to the church. They took part in the worship services and were served an awesome meal while being loved and ministered to by the church family. They were transported back to the shelters with a backpack stuffed with essentials and gifts for each one of them. Fairhaven continues to work with the homeless through various ministries and partnerships.
In addition to meeting in-house ministry needs, Fairhaven’s bus is also used within the community through collaboration and partnerships with other churches and organizations. For example, the bus transports neighboring church leaders and volunteers who partner with Fairhaven in the National Circle Campaign. “Circles” is an organization with a vision to end poverty through leadership training and relationship building. The bus is also used for inner city tours to help community church leaders understand the challenges of inner city ministry and develop the most effective approach to reaching the impoverished. A local African American Community Center also uses Fairhaven’s bus for special events.
[Source: Doug Piatt, building operations director]
More Good Stewards
• The Rock Church and World Outreach Center, San Bernardino, CA
• New Venture Christian Fellowship, Oceanside, CA
• First Baptist Church, Hammond, IN